Blame

I did not get a blog written last week.  Boo!  Let me tell you why.  We were faced with a possible hurricane (it skipped us, we are fine).  We have been looking for a new house, found one, went through several days of emotional turmoil to try and get a contract.  We got it.  My husband worked 85 hours last week to finish a deadline – so I was single mom last week.  And my in-laws came and visited over the holiday weekend.  Whew!  That was a bit stressful.  Glad it’s over.  Good things.  But even good stress is still stress.  So, here is my post for this week.  Hope it makes up for last week.  Love to you all!!

My Inspiration:

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.  He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
Job 1:20-22

My Thoughts:

Do you ever blame God for the things that go wrong in your life? If anyone on this earth had reason too, it would be Job. He lost everything. The family he loved, all of his possessions, and his health. Sometimes bad things happen because of our poor choices. But sometimes painful things just happen in life for reasons that we don’t understand. I don’t think I have ever blamed God for bad things, but I have questioned Him. I recognize that both believers and non-believers encounter all kinds of earthly suffering due to the curse of sin. As a believer though, I have often questioned why suffering happens to those who are trying to please Him. I have also felt angry and frustrated that we don’t know these answers. I have grieved and continue to grieve a life that I thought I was going to have and still desire.

My illness started my last year in college. I have been dealing with this for basically my whole adult life with very little hope that I will ever be “well”. I have ups and downs physically that range from completely bedridden (did that for 2 years) to all appearances of normal. I managed to finish college and even get a Master’s degree. I married the love of my life and spent the first 18 months of our marriage in the bed. Literally. I grieve that I never had a honeymoon or the first years of marriage were covered in illness and doctor’s appointments, but I am blessed beyond measure that he stuck with me and doesn’t complain. Life has become more manageable since the early days. I know my body’s limitations and triggers. I appear to live a “normal” life, but no one sees the meds and lifestyle changes that have been made to appear that way. Although I am in a good place with my health right now, I still suffer consequences of this chronic illness, everyday. That is my life.

I have discovered that dealing with chronic pain and the loss of “normalcy” is a continual process. It is not something that can just be conquered emotionally or spiritually once and for all. Wait. Read that again. It is a continual process. Just when I think I have a handle on how this illness works. It surprises me. And just when I think I have laid this to rest, accepting it for what it is, something happens that sends me spiraling into tears of frustration. And just when I think I have put all of this into God’s hands, I am tempted to doubt and question His ways. This is a journey! A constant, active mindset of laying our lives and our plans at the feet of Jesus.

My thoughts from the beginning have always been to allow the Lord to teach me through it – to use it for His purposes. But what do you do when you try to find purpose in it and sometimes come up empty? We know that God ordains everything. Nothing surprises Him. He chose you and me to suffer chronic pain and fatigue. Why? I search for reasons why all the time. Maybe I am to minister to those who chronically suffer. Maybe this lesson is for me to trust completely. Maybe it is the only thing in my life that keeps me running to His Word. Maybe the desires and ambitions I had for this life were not good for me. (Blessings)

I am currently a stay at home mother of five kids and I am thankful and blessed. But I am also full of ambition and passionate about what my career would have been. I still dream of going to get my Doctorate degree. But for what purpose? I don’t know that I could ever work a full time job. Why would God give me talent, ambition, and passion and then allow my body to fail me? I don’t know. I think it’s OK to question why, to question His purpose. But always realizing that HE DOES INDEED HAVE A PURPOSE!!!

I don’t have answers, but I can offer you encouragement. Keep trusting, praying, believing, and looking for ways to use your suffering. Remind yourself of all the good in your life – the abundant blessings that we often take for granted. I hope and pray that in our lifetime there will be a cure for fibro and cfs and that the suffering will one day come to an end. Until then, I allow myself to grieve and question, but I am also confident that He controls it all. Sometimes it stinks, but His purposes are always for the greater good. ALWAYS!

Love and Blessings,
Ann 🙂

Guest Post: Finding Purpose

Here is another great guest post!  Please meet my friend, Lee.  We have never met in person, but we have become great friends through email.  She is a treasure! 🙂  Lee will be getting married very soon and will be going through some wonderful changes in her life.  Please keep her in prayer as fibromyalgia is not friendly to  life’s adjustments, even the good ones.  I know you will be blessed by her words.  Leave her some love in the comments!

My name is Lee and I’m currently living in Ohio. I’m 21 years old and will be getting married in just a few short weeks. My fiancee and I are striving to fulfill the Lord’s purpose for our lives, and have future plans for ministry overseas. Fibro was an unexpected thing for both of us, but we know that God’s calling is His enabling, and that He will give us the strength to fulfill His plan.

Finding Purpose

Have you ever spoken with someone who was struggling with a serious issue, and felt completely helpless as to what to do to help? Maybe it was someone struggling with an abusive marriage, drug addiction, suicide, depression, cancer, diabetes or maybe an eating disorder? In that moment, you might have struggled finding the right words to say, or maybe you just sat bewildered and said in your heart “Help me Lord…what do I do?”

This feeling can be so crippling, especially when your heart yearns to be a blessing to them somehow and to ease their pain. Aristotle once said: “To perceive is to suffer.” The more I read this statement and roll it around in my mind, the more I find it beautifully profound. The word perceive can be defined: “to recognize, discern, envision, or understand.”

To truly perceive a person’s pain, one must be familiar with or recognize it. True empathy cannot be realized until someone has suffered and understood a similar issue.

The Lord has been gently stamping this truth on my heart, and it has been such an amazing tool for me in coping with my illness. I am learning that there is so much blessing in sickness, and so much wisdom to be learned in pain. One of my favorite authors is C.S Lewis, and I have just recently read a beautiful quote of his that I would like to share with you.

He said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

My heart both breaks and sings with this statement because I have found it to be so true in my life. This season of struggle has caused me to hear the voice of God in a way that I never have before. It has both brought me to my knees and raised me up in great joy.

He has been helping me to find purpose in my pain. The daily struggle with fatigue, neuropathy, sleeplessness, brain fog, and pain is all for a reason. This attack on my body is not in vain! This experience has sharpened my ability to recognize and identify with the pain and chronic conditions of others. This ability is a gift from God, not my doing, and I feel honored to have been given stewardship of it. I am learning that this pain has not been permitted in my body for me to be crushed beneath the weight of it, or be in valleys of despair and self-pity. Let me tell you, it’s not always easy, but I have found that the joy of the Lord truly is my strength!

Each day I have learned how to draw on that joy, over and over again, and I find that He has such a sweet and gentle way of replenishing it. He has called me to share that joy, and I believe He is calling you too. If there’s one thing that people need most in our world, it is the salvation and joy of the Lord. They are starving for it and you might be surprised at the reactions of people when you exercise this principle. Your pain is not in vain, and there are people who desperately need your empathy. They need someone to be there for them when they are hurting, and not just to be there, but to listen, and truly understand. As you well know, there is something so priceless about an understanding hug, tear, or hand to hold. But I challenge you, don’t wait forever for someone to come to you…go to them! If you don’t know where to find them, just pray…the Lord will lead you right to them. In that moment when you sacrifice your time and energy to give to a hurting heart, you will find that God refreshes your spirit in a way so beautiful, it is not easily forgotten.

God has such a wonderful plan for your life, whether you are healed of your infirmity, or whether you faithfully endure until He calls you home. You are called according to His purpose, and each one of you has one! Ask Him to lead you to that neighbor who’s hurting, or to that person who just needs a smile or a hug. When you’re feeling low, try to reach out, when you’re feeling blue….SING! When you feel alone, remember that Jesus suffered much for you, and that there is not a single thing that you’re going through that He doesn’t understand. His compassion and love is overwhelming, and He would delight to see you lavish that love and empathy on a soul who needs it.

May God give us all the strength and courage we need to be exactly what He wants us to be on this journey. May we see His bright and beautiful purpose, may we catch a glimpse of Heaven, may we be propelled to do everything we can to see His kingdom grow, and may we learn from each daily experience how to share His love! Thankyou so much for letting me share my heart with you today. May God richly bless each one of you! 🙂

 Well said, Lee!  Thank you for taking the time to share with us during this busy time of your life!  Blessings to you!!!